Press Conference on themed "The Latest Security and Human Rights Condition in Nduga, Papua at Amnesty International Indonesia Building in Jakarta, on Friday (03/29). Photo by TheInsiderStories.com.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The Nduga district community, in Papua province, asked the government to immediately stop the massive military operations carried out after the tragedy of shooting PT Istaka Karya workers at the end of last year. With that, thousands of residents who are currently seeking refuge in the forest can return and start life safely and peacefully, said a representative of Papuan residents today (03/29).

According to Jayawijaya Deputy Synod Reverend Esmond Walilo, followed the shooting that killed dozens of workers and members of the military, it was time for the government to withdraw troops from Nduga, because the military conflict with the Free Papua Organization group was not a matter of welfare, but rather an ideological problem that was difficult to decipher.

“There is a fact that many villages in Nduga were burned and controlled by the military. There are also many refugees, especially mothers who give birth to their children in the forest without medical help,” he said in Jakarta.

Walilo further emphasized that if the government does not immediately take strategic policies by conducting dialogues involving third parties from the United Nations, for example. If this is not the first step taken, then the citizens of Nduga will boycott all government activities and other political and development activities.

“So actually the Nduga people demanded independence because they were too long pressed and intimidated, like” enemies “and foreigners in their own country,” he said.

This was justified by Jayawijaya Deputy Synod Erson Wenda, saying that in fact the problem was Nduga, Papua was a non-serious problem if the government attracted massive military intimidation in the region.

“Many people fled to the forest. So the government must look at the events well,” he said.

Similarly, members of the Nduga’ investigation team Theo Hasegem held that the withdrawal of military forces was the best solution if the government wanted the tangled thread to be resolved soon. Even as a representation of Papuans, he asked the two presidential candidates who fought to carry out a human rights and humanitarian approach, rather than military operations and infrastructure development.

“Residents of Nduga live under pressure under military control. Even though they are also part of Indonesian citizens who need to be approached properly and humanely. The government is asked to take steps to dialogue, moreover we find it difficult to find journalism that is truly honest about the real conditions in Nduga,” he said.

On the other side, members of the Papuan Assembly Luis Madai revealed that the heavy military operation had triggered a new conflict in the land of Nduga. Madai said, among others, the community lost access to education, health and worship activities as members of the church, even their rights to life were threatened.

“Since the massacre, military operations have been very excessive, especially in 16 districts in Nduga district. As if the forces were forcing residents to get out of their communal land and live in the forest,” he said.

Madai admitted that he was sad when he saw the government was alert in helping refugees in Rohingya, Myanmar to get asylum and assistance to victims of floods in Sentani, Papua, but seemed to forget that in other parts of the country there were residents who desperately needed the country’s touch to solve the problem, namely residents of Nduga.

“We hope, before ending his term of office, Mr. President (Joko Widodo) withdraws troops from Nduga. Let the police chase criminals against bridge workers,” he said.

This was supported by Executive Director Amnesty International Indonesia Usman Hamid, that in the future, the security approach must be changed with a human rights and humanitarian approach. Because the people of Papua have been traumatized and injured by military actions in the past.

“The perpetrators of crimes should not be carried out by military operations, but involve the police, so that when found, they are faced with the court to account for their actions in a more dignified manner,” he said.

Hamid considered that the conflict in Nd was also the urgency of upholding human rights in Indonesia. According to him, one indicator of alleged human rights violations was when the state mobilized large numbers of troops and the use of weapons was out of control.

“Amnesty often hears allegations of violations there, but the government tends to stand for political arguments, saying that perpetrators of crime are part of pro-independence efforts. While from the investigation report, it was found only 29 cases related to pro-independence from 69 cases that occurred in Papua,” he explained.

If investigating the history of conflict in Papua, it was found that the conflict was a revenge of the past of local people who considered the government to force the rights and freedoms of Papuans when the self-determination took place in 1969.

Human rights observers from the Nduga Community Raga Kogeya agreed to the fact that since self-determination, Nduga refused to enter Indonesian territory. Similarly, when Papuans were given special autonomy, Nduga district also didn’t sign the agreement.

“It means the people of Nduga are pro-independence, so that it becomes a serious threat to the country,” she said.

Koyega, who was the sibling of the armed group leader Nduga, Eginius Kogoya requested that the government open up and be ready to dialogue with the Nduga people. If it is not implemented, Nduga residents will seek new political asylum because Indonesia does not side with the Nduga community.

It was reported that after the December 2 tragedy, the community lost their homes because they were destroyed when the military pursued armed criminal groups.

The people who took refuge in the Mapenduma District reached 4,276 people; Mugi District 4,369 people; Jigi District 5,056 people; Yal District 5,021 people; Mbulmu Yalma District 3,775 people; Kagayem District 4,238 people; Nirkuri District 2,982 people; Inikgal District 4,001 people; 2,021 Mbua District and 1,074 Dal District Districts.

Meanwhile, many schools were closed and left behind 13 classes in Nduga district; around 34 churches were closed due to military occupation; and public facilities such as community health centers were burnt, even the military used bombs when carrying out air raids on criminals.

Written by Daniel Deha, Email: daniel@theinsiderstories.com